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Lizzie Borden

topic posted Mon, March 15, 2004 - 6:57 PM by  K
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I thought I'd dust off an oldie and a baddie for some discussion. Do you think Ms. Borden brought infamy to Fall River, Mass. by murdering her father and step-mother with an axe? I'd have to say I really think she did it. The evidence is just too strong. Lizzie had motive, method and opportunity. Plus, she was apparently a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

One reason I think she was acquited was simple prejudice on the part of the jury. This was a panel of twelve men from Victorian-era America. For a woman to be even *thought* to be capable of such an act was beyond the pale. So, since they didn't think a woman could chop up two people with an axe, they found her not guilty

I read a book a few years back where I guy tried to prove that Lizzie couldn't have done it. The theory was so complicated and, from the vantage point of the late 20th Century, impossible to prove. I really think she did it. What do you guys think?
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K
offline K
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  • I think she did it too, but I think all they got on her was circumstantial evidence. If only they had DNA testing back then eh?
    • Well I hit cancel right before my last post sent , it apparently didn't work. lol. I don't think they coulda linked her with DNA testing if they did have it back then... being that she lived in the same house anyway's and it's not like the victoms had time to scratch their killer eigther. I'm not sure how it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt it was her.... although I'm sure it was.
      • K
        K
        offline 21
        No, I think you're right that DNA probably wouldn't have helped, but I think that modern forensics would have been a big help. Did you know Borden burned a dress in the stove and that her sister said the dress had some dark stains on it? Some people theorize that she may have stripped nude before she did it, but I don't think so.

        P.S. About the cancel button: don't you love it when technology works? :-)
        • Yeah I knew about the dress, but don't think there's anything left of it. Maybe she had shoes on when it happened? There's sure to be blood on them. 8).
          Yeah, stupid cancel button. lol.
          • K
            K
            offline 21
            Yeah, but considering the gender biases of the time, it probably wouldn't have done any good. They probably wouldn't have been able to see past it. Hell, they weren't even able to prove that the axe-head they found in the Borden basement was the actual murder weapon. As I recall, the main evidence that it was was that it fit some of the wounds on the victims' skulls.
  • I've been meaning to post this for a while--I went to the AAFS (American Academy of Forensic Sciences) annual meeting in February and one of the papers presented was on Lizzie. I'll retype most of the abstrace here: (I apologize in advance for any spelling/typing errors--I'm not gonna proof read this 'cause I'm tired : )

    Do Come Over, Someone Has Killed Father

    by: Steven Gilbert and Barbara Gilbert

    After attending ths presentation, attendees will understand the method in which suspects respond to questioning often times provides interrogaters with insights inot the suspect's calpability. Investigators who are trained in interrogative techniques present challenges to the guilty, in that offenders are unaware of these strategies. The objective of this paper is demonstrate the guilt of Lizzie Andrew Borden based upon her manner of responses to subsequent questioning following the murder of her father and step-mother.
    On August 4, 1892, two murders occured in the small town of Fall River, MA. AS history has recroded, Andrew Borden and Abby Borden were both bludgeoned to death with an unidentified weapon. Abby Borden died first, after sufferieng 19 injuries to the side and rear of her head. Approximately 90 minutes later, Andrew Borden was bludgeoned to death in the same manner, and died from 10 injuries to the left side of his face. The only known persons present during the time freame of the murders was Lizzie Borden and the housemaid, Bridget "maggie" Sullivan. Lizzie Borden was quickly developed as the most likely suspect of the murders. the police investigation, which was cursory at best, failed to answer two important questions that supported the eventual acquittal. No murder weapon was ever definitively identified, and the lack of blook spatter on Lizzie or her clothing could not be explained.
    Police and court officials questioned Lizzie Borden on four occasions. Her manner of responding is typically found in instances wehre interrogators use a technique known as the "three-step interview." This particular technique demonstrates that a suspect is practicing deception when answering specific questions. This technique requires that the suspect provide an initial free and uninterrupted statment surrounding the circumstances of the incident under investigation. The second step consists of randomly chosen facts for clarification. Step three requires the suspect to reiterate the circumstances of the incident. It has been seen that deceptive suspects fail to maintain consistency and accuracy during the third step of this technique.
    To support the theory that Lizzie Borden was guilty of double murder, the scene was compared to Lizzie Borden's inquest testimony. Analysis of the testimony, as compared to the trial testimony of other witnesses, revealed that Lizzie Borden reacted in the same manner as other suspects when confronted with interviews similar to the tree-step interview process. In the end, Lizzie Borden's statements concerning teh murders began as her initial versian of the murders, to mixed and questionable to a different version. Truthful witnesses rarely have problems reporting the same information three times. In addition to the weapon and blood questions, Lizzie Borden's inquest testimony, which was the proff of her deception, was no permitted into her criminal trial.
    • K
      K
      offline 21
      You are so lucky to have gone to that meeting! Was it for professional purposes? Please share more about what you saw/learned there.

      P.S. Don't apologize for spelling errors or typos (not to me, anyway) when this kind of a treasure trove of info is being offered. I only mind typos when the person doesn't know what they're talking about. :-)
      • Yeah, I'm a forensic entomologist, so I go to these meetings a lot. Let's see...what else was there...I mostly attended the Pathology/Biology presentations and meetings--the presentations I saw included The Use of Whole Body Donors in Forensic Research, Insect Succession Studies on Pig Carrion in Virginia and the Effects of Antemortem Ethanol Ingestion on Insect Succession and Development, Fatal Botox-Induced Anaphylaxis? A Case Report, Accidental Parachuting Death Due to Equiptment Failure, Death by Defibrillator: A Unique Homicide by Elecrocution, Dissection, Preservation and Sexual Abuse of Bodies and Body Parts - An Exceptional Case of Necrophilia (this was the most facinating), Too Many Causes of Death: What's the Manner?, Photographic Imaging of Handgun Gas Clouds Compared to Gunshot Residue Swabs, From VIRTOPSY to VIRTOBOT: Photogrammetry Based Optical Surface Scanning and Radiological Virtual Autopsy, Does Carcass Enrighment Alter Community Structure of Predaceous and Parasitic Arthropods?, Trends in Forensic Entomology in the US and Abroad, Temperature-Dependent Development of the Blow Fly Calliphora Vicina, Evidence of Children and Elderly Persons by Use of Forensic Entomology, DNA-Based Identification of Forensically Significant Blowflies of Australia.

        There were others, but I didn't realize how many seminars I attended in the week until I started to type them out. : ) I also got to see several "Bring your own slides" presentations, where professionals present recent cases, and two historical presentations, one on the shootout at the OK Corral and the other reconstructing a Civil War civillian's death. It was lots of fun this year.
        • K
          K
          offline 21
          Man! How did you decide to get into forensic entomology? I'm always fascinated when I see a true crime show where entomology is used to catch a criminal, though my wife always says "EWW!" and leaves the room. Ah well, to each their own. I think yoga and meditation are pretty dull myself.

          What can you tell us about the necrophilia one (of course it's the most interesting!) and the "too many causes of death." That one had to be interesting too. Maybe you can start a thread on these? You don't have to get *too* detailed on the necrophilia cause, well, I have to sleep and there are some mental images I just don't want or need. :-)

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